“Hey, boss,” Vor called out as he entered the barroom with Deyama.
Kritalla turned and smiled. “Vor!” He hugged the man.
“I’d heard you were this side of the desert and had to say hi.”
“I was heading to see you when I got sidetracked.”
Vor nodded and pulled up a couple of chairs for him and Deyama. “We’d heard that too. We have good communication with Menthanla.
“Allow me to introduce my wife, Deyama, Queen of the Elves.”
Kritalla nodded. “It’s good to finally meet you.”
“Likewise,” she agreed.
“And it looks like congratulations are in order.”
She smiled and patted her belly. “Thank you.”
“Did Shun tell you if it’s a boy or girl yet?” He asked.
Vor grinned. “Two boys and a girl.”
“Congratulations,” Thailyn said.
“You knew,” Vor accused.
“I suspected and told Shun to check. Triplets are worse to read than twins.”
“Triplets?” Fists laughed. “Good luck.”
“Cynic,” Rejenn muttered.
Vor ignored him and the tone in Fists voice. “Thanks.”
“All kids are a lot of work,” Tolin pointed out.
Tylan joined them. “Sorry about that. That should be the last interruption.”
“Vor, Deyama, I believe you’ve already met my wife.” Kritalla gestured to Morina.
Vor leaned forward. “So you’re the mysterious shrew who abandoned Kritalla in his time of need, leaving him to rot in prison unjustly, and turned his daughters against him so, in a desperate attempt to find purpose, he hid the king’s daughter from him and waged war on a crime lord.”
Morina smiled smugly. “I am. If that’s what I do to the man I love, imagine what I’d do to someone I didn’t like.” Her tone was slightly menacing.
Fists chuckled. “Watch it, Vor.”
“No, wait,” Chapado insisted. “This is good. I want to hear his version of Kritalla spiriting away Thailyn or going after Morcri.”
“What? Spiriting away Thailyn?” Vor asked sitting up.
Tolin sent a page for more drinks. The bar needed to be restocked. “When was Thailyn spirited away? Was that when Ann was born?” He asked.
“No. Didn’t anyone tell you?” Chapado asked.
“It’s how Thailyn and I met,” Kritalla explained. ”It was right after the war of the living night. There were several Ertonian guards coming to try to stop Nor’than. But by the time they got here, it was too late. Nor’than was dead. Or so everyone thought. I was no longer a guard by then but I’d been hired to help along with other mercenaries. Everything was a mess. The mercenaries were tasked with finding and protecting dragons in case Morcri or Cramda was involved. I found Thailyn unconscious. I scried the council but they didn’t want the Tricons in Baj-tisk. I took him to a house one of the mercenaries used near Resdelk. When he woke, he had amnesia so I was told to stay with him until he recovered. When I found out what the council wanted to do with him, I helped him come up with a new identity.”
The page came with the drinks. “The bar will be restocked as soon as the shipment arrives,” he told Tolin as he passed out drinks to those who didn’t have any.
Deyama took a sip of the wine he’d given her. “Gah, Green Glenn.” She shuttered.
“Would you like something else?” The page asked.
“We can trade,” Tolin offered. “Mine’s too tart.” They traded glasses and Deyama smiled contently as she sipped the whiskey.
“We’ve kept in touch over the years the best we could with the council harassing me,” Thailyn added returning to the conversation. “It was a few decades before I realized he wasn’t human and that Morina had extended his lifespan.”
“You knew I was his wife?” Morina asked.
Thailyn shook his head. “He talked about you, but never mentioned your name.”
“I just wish I would have found you in Thager before Deyama was killed,” Kritalla said.
Thailyn shook his head. “She wasn’t your responsibility.”
“Thailyn, we’re friends. I’m going to watch out for your wife, just like I watched out for your daughter.”
“She wasn’t my wife.”
“You’re a dragon, and she was carrying your child. That makes her your wife, as Pisha’s your wife now.”
“Pisha’s not pregnant.”
Tylan grinned. “Give it time. Elves like big families.”
Deyama nodded, hand on her belly. “We do. And since you and Pisha missed Ann and Ruzi growing up, she’s going to want to try again.”
“We’ve talked about it, usually amidst the regrets of our mistakes. We’ll have to talk some more. I still see it’s better you didn’t find me when Ann was born. Who knows what the council would have done. But part of me wishes you had. At least then maybe I’d have gotten to see her grow up.”
“If the council didn’t have you executed,” Tolin pointed out. “Ann and Mishtali wouldn’t have been there to defend you.”
Thailyn nodded but Tylan shook her head. “The father of my best friend’s baby? Emeton would have refused access to you. He’d have brought you to the palace to protect you.”
“I understand why Fria couldn’t remember me. Even when I was living there, she’d forget who I was. And I doubt the nurse knew my name. I think I told her a few of my aliases. But I’m surprised you never talked to the neighbor lady. She was there frequently. She watched Fria until we hired the nurse.”
“Anisa? Of course we talked to her,” Tylan insisted. “She and Fria were best friends. She said she’d never met you. She’d seen someone from a distance but had never been introduced.”
“I introduced myself to her. I healed her son of Reys tor. I saw her almost daily for months before we’d hired the nurse. I don’t know why she’d lie.”
“You said her name was Anisa?” Chapado asked. “Was her son named Vibby?”
Thailyn grew tense. “Yes.”
“Did you ever find out who arranged Darina’s death?” Kritalla asked.
“Anisa knew you were a dragon and Dar was pregnant?” Chapado asked.
“Do you think it was her?”
“Fria might have forgotten to tell Darina she was part immortal, but Anisa knew. She was a big opponent of the White Wyrm project. She didn’t like crossbreeds of any kind. She sees Ertonians as superior and mortals as barely more than animals. She feels Ertonian blood should be kept pure.”
“She often referred to my first husband’s children as pets,” Morina added. “She could have been the one to arrange Darina’s death.”
“She was Fria’s friend, even with Fria being only a quarter immortal. I don’t know.” Chapado frowned. “Maybe it was Vibby.”
Kritalla shook his head. “No, Vibby would have just killed her outright. He wouldn’t have staged it with the spear.”
“Could Vibby have been the one here in Sen-gan that killed her?” Vor asked.
“No, I would have recognized him,” Tylan insisted. “And he gave Dar plenty of time to protect Ann and he transported us right outside a guard station that should have had a healer. He gave us a chance to save Ann at least.”
“But if you talked to Anisa about finding Ann’s father, she knew Ann survived. Why did she give up?” Deyama asked.
“Who said she did?” Tolin’s voice was low. “We always assumed the spell on Rem was cast by Cramda since he was the one that told Rem his bracelet was charmed to protect him from spells. But maybe Anisa cast it. Rem said sometimes he felt compelled to kill Ann.”
“Maybe we should see if he knows her,” Kritalla suggested.
They summoned the prince and showed him an image of Anisa.
Remtani nodded. “That’s the boy’s mother. The boy I met in the market that gave me the bracelet.” He fingered the bracelet that he still wore. “She was the one to tell me he died. I tried to give her the bracelet as a reminder, but she gave it back, saying he wanted me to have it.” He poured himself a glass of wine and sat with them.
“It’s possible if there was a spell on the bracelet, she removed it,” Kritalla suggested.
Remtani shook his head. “Andy says there’s never been a spell on it. At least not until Ann charmed it to block the spell.”
Kritalla raised an eyebrow. “Andy can tell something like that?”
“He’s a more talented Augmenter than Dentrias,” Morina told him.
“Dentrias was before my time.”
“You know the stories. Plus, Andy’s a natural. He did quite a bit by instinct.”
“And while his own magic is weak, he can handle enough from others to cast any mortal spell,” Chapado added.
“He was able to transport nine if us to Erilu once,” Remtani said.
Kritalla huffed. “Nine? That’s not mortal, shades, most immortals can’t do nine without a taki-sphere to help them.”
“He used Ann’s magic,” the prince explained.
“Why didn’t Ann do it?”
“She was pregnant and her aim was off.”
Kritalla laughed. “I can understand that. Morina transported us two cities away once while she was pregnant.”
“I really think it has more to do with carrying a crossbreed,” Chapado told them. “I had more trouble with Lonna than I did with my Ertonian children.”
“You have other kids?” Vor asked.
Chapado laughed. “I’m over 8000 years old. Do you seriously think I only had one child in all that time?”
“So how many children do you have?” Remtani asked.
Morina snorted. “Only.”
Remtani looked at her. “How many do you have?”
“Thirty-eight,” she said proudly.
“Thirty-eight?” Remtani asked. “Shades, don’t tell Jaidu. She wants a big family, but thirty-eight is a bit much.”
“It would practically empty the orphanage,” Tylan pointed out.
“It would move it here.”
“How many are yours?” Vor asked Kritalla.
A page came and whispered to Remtani who excused himself.
“Just two. But maybe we can think about more sometime.” He glanced at his wife.
She smiled and nodded. “Perhaps.”
“Perhaps we should get back to the more pressing matter of Anisa,” Tolin suggested. “I’m assuming she didn’t get killed with Cramda’s group.”
“No, she’s very much alive, unfortunately,” Kritalla said.
Tolin glanced at him.
“I’m an impure crossbreed myself. We don’t get along.”
“Then is it possible we need to worry about her?” Tolin asked.
Kritalla nodded. “It is.”
“Could she be involved with that group Kritalla saw?” Deyama asked.
“I didn’t see her. It’s doubtful she would be.”
“I have several sources looking into the group,” Rejenn offered as Remtani returned. “So far no one seems to fit what you describe. If you can show me an image, I can pass it on.”
Remtani nodded. “We need to be prepared.”
Thailyn stood. “I need to go. Dae wants me at the home and something’s bothering Pisha.”
Remtani also stood. “Uncle, we need to talk too. Mom, we’ll be probably talking with you and Dad soon.”
MeInOhio 10:02AM | Fri, 20 January 2023
Nice looking scene! Good looking individual poses!
Leije 9:24AM | Sat, 21 January 2023
Superb decor for this nice group af characters !